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Pattern Interruption Archives Page 3 of 4


Talking Points


"What does this commonly used term mean?" The letter "R" is from the Latin meaning ‘recipe’ which in the context of a prescription means ‘Take thou this.’ The mark on the tail of the "R" is said to be from the astrological sign of Jupiter. At one time it was believed to precede a formula with the Jupiter’s sign, as a sort of invocation, would assure a favorable result. Moreover, according to astrologers, the period during the ascendancy of the planet Jupiter was thought to be a good time to gather herbs and concoct medicines. Kinda puts prescription medicines in a whole new light…


Naming a set of symptoms gives the illusion of power or control over the situation. This is why diagnosing and assigning a name to a health problem is so important in the allopathic arena. (Want to really frustrate an MD? Present a set of symptoms that doesn’t conform to a named condition!) Under the word "dominion" write a term like "osteoarthritis" and then dissect the word parts, i.e. ‘osteo’ = bone, etc. Ask the patient to compare the medical response to the named disease and the chiropractic response.

Rest and exercise
Proper hygiene
Nerve supply
Positive mental attitude

All of these aspects affect one’s health. Ask your patients to rate them from 1 to 6 in importance. Not only will you get some interesting insights into your patient’s understanding, you’ll spark some very interesting conversations!

Stepping on
a dog's tail

The problem is at the "tail end" but the symptom (the bark) is at the other end. Just because you have headaches, it doesn't mean that's where your problem is. This is also a good metaphor to use when patients complaining of headaches and balk at having a lumbar film taken.

Suction cup

The popping sound created by a release of pressure is much like the sound created from cavitation. It's not bone rubbing on bone like most patients think!

Fanning a ream
of paper

Most patients think the shortest distance between two points is a straight, and thus don't see the nervous system tension produced by a Military neck. Have 100 sheets of paper or so on hand to have your patients conduct this little adjusting room experiment. Loosely hold the stack of paper and bend it into a gentle upwards arc. In this position, grip the paper tightly and then attempt to straighten the ream. Notice how the bottom sheets, representing the spinal cord are straight, but tight!

Circuit breaker

Bones can't move without muscles. And muscles don't move without nerve impulses. Think of subluxation (the joint malfunction) as one of the body's protective features, like an electrical circuit breaker. This is exactly opposite of how most view the subluxation. But think about it…

"I would
refer others
if ________"

This is pretty obvious. Find out what each patient's barriers, difficulties or frustrations with telling others about chiropractic. And then solve their problem!)

The weakest link

Not the game show! It's where stress causes a breakdown. Point out the weakest link in each patient's spine. Then ask them how they think it became their weakest link. Hint: Most adult problems are longstanding problems. Use this conversation to urge parents to bring their children in for a checkup.

Ball bearings

First, what do ball bearings do? Then, equate the nucleus pulposus to a ball bearing, explaining what happens due to disk thinning or the bulging of the "ball bearing."

Joyous vs. Sad

Patients often find it difficult to see how emotions or "negative thoughts" can affect the spine. Before you explain, ask each patient to put his or her body in a position reflective of the two emotions. Ask them to observe their posture when sad!

What is health?

"When you hear the word health, what does that word mean to you?" Most chiropractors use this word repeatedly throughout their day. They think patients attribute the same meaning to the word as they do. They don't. No wonder they leave when they feel better.

"blah, blah, blah"

1. When the brain is not communicating well with the body, it sounds like 'blah blah blah', instead of "digest", "grow", "heal", "balance", etc... 2. 'blah, blah, blah' is "lazy communication." If the brain gets lazy or it takes too much energy to communicate (subluxation), then sometimes it comes out blah, blah, blah... What message do you think your body is needing to hear right now? (Thanks Dr. Vince!)

Spine transplant

This is an obvious play on the classic, "What will you do when your spine wears out?" statement. Use this one to springboard a discussion on the complexity of the nervous system and/or the mechanical mind set of today's medical model.


Chiropractic is a revolutionary idea whose power is diminished when it is added (evolutionary) to the prevailing symptom-treating notion of health care, rather than replacing it. Chiropractic is revolutionary (nerve based) as opposed to medicine (blood based). We need both disciplines, but one is health care and the other sick care.

72 hours

Research conducted at Palmer College suggests that within 72 hours of a joint fixation it begins to degenerate. If adjusted within 1 week of the fixation they were able to stop it. If longer they had not yet been able to determine how many adjustments it would take to stop. The point? If you know someone in an automobile accident, get them into the office within 3 days! (Thanks Dr. Jeske.)

Joe Montana
Tiger Woods
Barry Bonds
Evander Holyfield
Michael Jordan
Dan O'Brien


I put up a list of 3 different names on the board (and vary the names from room to room) and ask patients what those people have in common?  We all know the answer is they get adjusted to perform at their optimum potential, not just for pain relief. Tip of the hat to Dr. Bryce ArmB and Dr. Greg MacLuckie


If you're east of the Mississippi River in the US, some patients might think this is a new radio station!. Nope. Stands for, "With Knowledge Comes Responsibility." In other words, now that the patient understands chiropractic, they have a duty to tell others. West of the Mississippi? How about: KPNR or "Knowing Produces New Responsibilities." Thanks Dr. Ronchetti.

M i k
E gs
re d

Milk. Eggs. Bread. A simple shopping list that gets a little confusing with a couple of essential letters missing! Just like what a subluxation can do with nerve messages to and from the brain!

11 People

(Use a number that reflects the true number for your office.) “That’s the average number of people our patients refer to our office for chiropractic care.” Many patients respond with, “Wow, that's a lot of people!" or "Boy I have a lot of catching up to do." And then they take bent pens, magnets or business cards to hand out. We have found it a great way to ask for referrals without asking for referrals! Thanks Dr. Mitchell H. Marr!

The sniffling
Stuffy head
So you can rest

Ask the patient what this is (they always answer Nyquil). Then ask why do our bodies sneeze, cough, have a runny nose, etc. They know the answer (get something bad out of our bodies, and increase the immune response). Finally I ask them, if all these things are assisting your body to get better why would you take a medicine to stop these things from happening? Thanks Dr. Tim Swift!

Eat Germs

Do you eat germs? (almost always yes) Then, why aren’t you sick? (my immune system fights it)So what is the cause of sickness? The presence of germs? (no um, the immune system not working?)To help sickness should we kill germs or increase immune response? (duh)What are some ways we can do this? Tip of the hat to Dr. Tim Swift!

What's the #1 cause of acute liver failure in the U.S.?

Answer: Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

Thanks Dr. Tim Swift!


This drug is in the same narcotics class as Adderrall and Ritalin used to drug children, which cause similar psychological and mental changes as cocaine. Thanks Dina Bellegante of Dr. Kevin Kaurich's office!


Medicine ~ The study of disease and what causes a person to die.

Chiropractic ~ The study of health and what causes a person to live.
Tip of the hat to Mitchell H. Marr D.C.


The initials for Above Down Inside Out. The only way health can occur is from inside-out. Think about it. Nutrition, exercise, lowering stress, removing subluxation, all change the inside of you, naturally. Outside-in approaches do not produce true health. Has anyone ever thought they could add ten years to their life by swallowing a cough remedy or taking a a pain medication? Thanks Dr. Tim Swift!


When the patients ask, I ask them how long they can live without each one. You can be revived usually within 1 hour with a stopped heart. With non functioning lungs you can last about 10 min. With no electrical signal your body dies instantly. This show the supremacy of the nervous system. Thanks Dr. Mithra Green!

Fire Department

The medical establishment is just like the fire department. When the house is burning down, all they care about is saving the structure. They use axes and fire hoses and leave your home in shambles, hopefully saving your life. Chiropractors are the carpenters that remodel, rebuild and maintain your structure. Good carpenters prevent fires. Thanks Dr. Jason Lauer

Exercise does not come in a bottle!
Get out and move!

If we're not moving, we're not living. I'll do my job and move your joints and help free up your nervous system, but YOU need to keep them moving and balanced otherwise I'll see you again tomorrow! Thanks Dr. James Martell (More ambiguous would be: Exercise in a pill!)

Chemical imbalance

A phrase used in the medical community to justify medication.  What controls the chemical balance in the body? How can a body go out of balance? The only way is by having an interference in the control mechanism of the chemicals (the brain), or packing a bunch of toxic chemicals in the mouth (processed junk food).  The solution to chemical imbalance is not to add more chemicals to the equation, rather to remove the cause of the chemical imbalance in the first place! (Thanks for sharing Dr. Tim Swift!)

Wash Your Hands

The most effective way to reduce the chance of getting the flu and colds is washing your hands. Wash with ordinary soap, not antiseptic soap as that may create even Ber germs that will not resist cleaning, and sing the birthday song as that will make you smile and your hands will be nice and clean. (Thanks Delia from Dr. E. von Schilling's office!)


No, it is NOT a giant lizard. It's a quarter million dollar Lamborghini. If you had a Gallardo, would you skip changing the oil? Would you park it under the trees and let the birds poop on it? Probably not, because it's VALUABLE. What's more valuable: a car or your health? Thanks Dr. J, Melissa and Jennifer at Schmid Chiropractic.

2 1/2 lbs

That is the approximate combined weight of the "good" bacteria living in our body that helps control our digestion, immune response, bone strength and even our mood/depression. (From "The Probiotics Revolution" by Gary Huffnagle, professor of internal medicine at University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor.) This helps patients come to grips with the current paranoia regarding staph infections and overall germaphobia. Thanks Dr. Mithra Green

5000 Calories

The average number of calories taken in on a big turkey dinner.  The average human burns around 2000 per day. Thanks Dr. Tim Swift!

The leading cause
of liver failure
in the US.

Acetaminophen! "Tylenol is the most popular painkiller in the United States as Americans consume over 8 billion Tylenol pills each year. It is the leading cause of overdose deaths in many western countries, is the most frequent cause of fulminant liver failure in the United States." (HEPATOLOGY 2005;42:1364-1372.) Thanks Dr. James Eaton!

M > P > C

It means M; if you have something that requires maintenance and it isn’t maintained it will create a P (problem), and if not dealt with will create a C (crisis). When care begins and we eliminate the C (crisis) what is still left? The P (problem) that needs correcting and then maintenance. From Dr. Dennis Nikatow via Dr. Clare Haitsma.

The Pickle Theory

Eating pickles causes some people to have gas, burp or an upset stomach. Yet, it doesn't produce this effect in all people. Or even most people. Is the problem with the pickle or the person? What controls the body’s response to pickles, tree pollen or cat dander?


While standing, what side do you carry your weight on? Notice that after standing for a while we tend to shift our weight onto one hip "hippy" and remain in that same position. This is a comfort position and rarely if ever shift to the other side. Over time (and not a long time) this causes imbalance that affects your structure and nervous system. Thanks Dr. Steven Roberts

Which Foot?

Which foot do you lead with when bending over to pick something up? Which foot do you lead with when you go up a flight of stairs? Which foot do you put on the shovel when you dig a hole? I'll bet they are all the same foot. Start to pay attention to your body patterns and how often you lead with the same foot (just like handedness). This continued use of one side over the other WILL lead to massive imbalance. And why are you here to see me.... that's right imbalance. Thanks Dr. Steven Roberts.


The common element is all mammals have 7 cervical vertebrae. Some are just smaller or larger. Thanks Dr. Frank Door.


I write Wealth on the top half of the board and Debt on the bottom half. When asked I say "If all your debts were paid, would you be wealthy?" No, that's just getting back to zero. Getting rid of pain is like getting out of debt, it feels good, but is just the first step to building lasting health/wealth. Thanks Dr. Mithra Green

No Pain
No Gain?

Ask the patient if there are any benefits to chiropractic AFTER the pain goes away. Tip of the hat to Stan Schulte, D.C.

A Bottle of Exercise

Obviously, exercise does not come in a bottle! You have to take charge and use self-discipline to start exercising and get fit! Use this to explain to your patients that if you do not actively take charge of yourself and use your own self-discipline to exercise, you will not benefit from it. Thanks Julia, Eaton Chiropractic

A Full Bucket

When you system is overloaded with internal and external stressors and it can't handle everything you, or the outside world, have resting on your shoulders, it "overflows" and you lack the capacity to respond to even the smallest stressors. Thanks Julia, Eaton Chiropractic

32 years

How long the average person spends sitting in a life time.  The body was designed to move.  Get out and move it!  Get adjusted, allow the nervous system to flow, unrestricted and keep active. (Source: Dr. James L. Chestnut, B.Ed. M.Sc. D.C. C.C.W.P. Thanks Karen!

7.5 years

The number of years added to your life, if you maintain a positive attitude and a happy, optimistic outlook.  How you perceive what goes on around you and how you interpret it may have an impact on your longevity, and it could affect the quality of your later years.  Properly functioning nervous system helps you remain positive and deal with stressors with more ease…. Less dis-ease. (Source: Dr. Christopher Kent) Thanks Karen!

Smoke Detector

When the patient asks if it's fire safety month I ask "Do you have smoke detectors in your house?"  They answer in the affirmative. "If the alarm woke you up at night what would you do?"  They answer get out to the house, etc.  "Why wouldn't you just remove the batteries and go back to sleep?"  They answer (shocked) how dangerous that would be because it's the fire/smoke that's the real problem, not the alarm.  "Well how is that different then covering up symptoms with medication?"  Thanks Dr. Mithra Green

Hand Sanitizer
Multi Vitamin

On a day to day basis how do you protect your immune system from getting sick? Which is more effective between the two? Also talk about the inside out approach to health and how chiropractic plays a role. Thanks Dr. Jessica Paige

Conserve Energy!

I was reading a muscle energy manual, and it was talking about evaluating where the lesion is and how the wisdom of the body operates on "auto pilot" with this three-part protocol: 1) Protect!! avoid pain avoid further damage. 2. Substitute!! see if the same thing can be done with another part of the body. 3. Conserve energy!! Rearrange posture, or muscle firing patterns.
So here is my "white board-ism:" "Todays solution may prove to be tomorrows problems." Meaning those three guidelines mentioned above operate on a subconscious level. As wonderful as the wisdom of the body is, however, it lacks foresight. So todays solutions can be tomorrows problems. Even taking meds, to alleviate problems etc. Thanks Dr. Reese R. Riggin


Like an interference-free nervous system, HDTV offers better reception, less interference and greater enjoyment of life. Get adjusted! Thanks Dr. Neel Bulchandani


$300,000 the average malpractice amount your a neurosurgeon pays per year vs. $1,000 the average malpractice a chiropractor pays per year. Who do you suppose insurance companies think is a safer place to take your family to get well? Thanks Dr. Brian M Bartholomew of Lansing, NY.

Dog Milk

This is a twist on the cow's milk discussion. However, when you put up the idea of drinking Dog Milk people are shocked and make all kinds of great faces. Funny how people are disgusted by the idea of drinking the milk of a dog but think nothing of drinking milk from a cow. Thanks Dr. Rok A. Morin.

Extra parts?

Great way to explore the thinking behind tonsilectomies, gall bladder surgery and the like. Thanks Dr. Vilan

Flat Tire

You’re driving down the road and get a flat tire. Do you..

A) Change the tire
B) Wait for the tire fairy
C) Call your auto insurance company, tell them you have a flat tire, expecting them to cover the cost?

Well, if you choose B, you have bigger issues than a flat tire, and if you choose C…you are just like everyone else that thinks there Health Insurance should cover wellness checkups or dental braces. Health Insurance is there for catastrophic circumstances that may or may not come up in your life. It is not for maintaining a healthier you… that is your responsibility! So take hold of your health and experience the full meaning of wellness and function. Tip of the hat to Ashley Butler


Congestive heart failure
The first two conditions to respond to chiropractic care. Notice it wasn’t for back pain? Thanks Dr. Tim Swift
Too much acid? Why do you get heartburn? If it’s created by the food, why doesn’t everyone get too much acid when they eat that type of food? What controls acid levels in the stomach? (Nervous system) If you lower the acid with a pill have you solved the reason you have too much acid? Doesn't it make more sense to check the integrity of the system that controls acid production? Thanks Dr. Tim Swift



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